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Children of the Different

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Nineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. The survivors all had something different about their minds. Now, at the start of adolescence, their children enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and emerge either with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals. In the great forest of South West Weste Nineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. The survivors all had something different about their minds. Now, at the start of adolescence, their children enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and emerge either with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals. In the great forest of South West Western Australia, thirteen-year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah go through the Changeland. They encounter an enemy known as the Anteater who feeds on human life. He exists both in the Changeland and in the outside world, and he wants the twins dead. After their Changings, the twins have powers that let them fight their enemy and face their destiny on a long journey to an abandoned American military base on the north-west coast of Australia…if they can reach it before time runs out. Children of the Different is a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel set among the varied landscapes and wildlife of Western Australia. "Left me wanting more at the end" - Fantasy Book Review "Hits all the right buttons and does so with efficiency. Recommended" - Speculative Book Review "A very refreshing fantasy début that subverts genre clichés" - Geek Planet Online "A unique setting and an irresistible concept" - Books Bones & Buffy "Exciting and fresh, a take that I hadn't encountered before" - Fantasy Literature "An imaginative success, fully realized in every way, easy to digest, and utterly enjoyable to read" - Bookwraiths "Should definitely hit your radar" - A Fantastical Librarian "Recommended if you're looking for a fresh and exciting experience in an otherwise overcrowded genre" - The Fictional Hangout


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Nineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. The survivors all had something different about their minds. Now, at the start of adolescence, their children enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and emerge either with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals. In the great forest of South West Weste Nineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. The survivors all had something different about their minds. Now, at the start of adolescence, their children enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and emerge either with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals. In the great forest of South West Western Australia, thirteen-year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah go through the Changeland. They encounter an enemy known as the Anteater who feeds on human life. He exists both in the Changeland and in the outside world, and he wants the twins dead. After their Changings, the twins have powers that let them fight their enemy and face their destiny on a long journey to an abandoned American military base on the north-west coast of Australia…if they can reach it before time runs out. Children of the Different is a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel set among the varied landscapes and wildlife of Western Australia. "Left me wanting more at the end" - Fantasy Book Review "Hits all the right buttons and does so with efficiency. Recommended" - Speculative Book Review "A very refreshing fantasy début that subverts genre clichés" - Geek Planet Online "A unique setting and an irresistible concept" - Books Bones & Buffy "Exciting and fresh, a take that I hadn't encountered before" - Fantasy Literature "An imaginative success, fully realized in every way, easy to digest, and utterly enjoyable to read" - Bookwraiths "Should definitely hit your radar" - A Fantastical Librarian "Recommended if you're looking for a fresh and exciting experience in an otherwise overcrowded genre" - The Fictional Hangout

30 review for Children of the Different

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    This has a lot going for it. I enjoyed the start of the novel, everything seemed so obscure and mysterious. It begins with the changing, an adolescent right that questions the meaning of existence itself. This move from childhood to adulthood felt like a shift from innocence to experience, from having a soul to not having one, from a natural state to a modern ideal. The shift in setting reflected this idea as the characters grew into something else and developed strange powers. It was all very n This has a lot going for it. I enjoyed the start of the novel, everything seemed so obscure and mysterious. It begins with the changing, an adolescent right that questions the meaning of existence itself. This move from childhood to adulthood felt like a shift from innocence to experience, from having a soul to not having one, from a natural state to a modern ideal. The shift in setting reflected this idea as the characters grew into something else and developed strange powers. It was all very new for them. “I just need to learn the rules” The world building was great also. I especially liked the unpredictability of the changing right. The Great Madness- the apocalypse- had previously wiped out most of humanity. What is left is a world that no longer makes any sense. At the changing the twins, Arika and Narrah, could either have gone completely insane or come out of the dreamscape forever altered. The same is true for every individual, such a life altering experience the shift becomes. Those who survive it are lucky in a sense, but they still have to survive in this new world. It’s even worse for sleeper ferals; they come out normal and one day reach breaking point and lose it. So risk is everywhere, and within everyone. The novel is set in Australia- a welcome change to young adult fantasy either set being in America or some made up place. It explores the voice of the Aboriginals as well as that of modern settlers, intertwining them with ideas of mythos and magic. So within this world there is a dystopian sense that has originated from former real world divides- this still exists after the apocalypse. Weirdly, it felt credible. Like a “what if” situation based on the real world. It became repetitive Narrative expectations were broken with its lack of a romance plot. I’ve seen twins explored a few times before in this genre, and it is always good to read about. However, as the novel progressed some of the story telling began to grow stale. Twins are always tightly bonded together. They’re closer than normal siblings and because of this whenever the plot pulled them apart there was a high degree of separation anxiety, nothing wrong with this in itself. But they spend a great deal of the plot apart longing for each other. And I began to become a little bored with the idea. Arika would miss Narrah. Narrah would miss Arika. And there was just so much of this within the dialogue and narration that is started to frustrate me. I mean at a certain point it didn’t need be said. The concept behind the plot was a clever one, although it was hindered by the repetitive writing and plot devices. But it is also the writer’s first published novel. It shows much promise, along with the ability to create original ideas in a genre that is becoming increasingly popular. So it is a worthy read in itself. - The author sent me this book in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bookwraiths

    Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths. Children of the Different is a different flavor of post-apocalyptic, dystopian YA faire. In fact, for many, it might be a welcome change of pace from the much used (and, perhaps, over used) trope of angst-ridden teenagers whining about the patent unfairness of life while having to untangle themselves from messy love triangles . . . and save the world, of course. Thankfully, Mr. Flynn avoids that tried and true narrative, offering up as a gift to readers a fanta Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths. Children of the Different is a different flavor of post-apocalyptic, dystopian YA faire. In fact, for many, it might be a welcome change of pace from the much used (and, perhaps, over used) trope of angst-ridden teenagers whining about the patent unfairness of life while having to untangle themselves from messy love triangles . . . and save the world, of course. Thankfully, Mr. Flynn avoids that tried and true narrative, offering up as a gift to readers a fantastical tale, which – while still a coming-of-age tale – delivers enough creative touches, adds enough unique elements, to transform the familiar into the unexpected. Our guides for this journey are twins Arika and Narrah. These two teenagers have grown up in Western Australia about two decades after “The Great Madness” which killed nearly all of humanity. Those who survived this extinction level event are either beast-like Ferals (Think zombie but really, really fast) or survivors whose mental health problems were cured by the illness. Around them has grown up a new world of isolated settlements scattered across a barren landscape. Ferals run wild across the sparsely inhabited land. Technology is almost non-existent. Civilization is minimum at best. And “The Great Madness” still haunts everyone. Only now it strikes the teenagers of the world and is called “The Changing”; adolescents entering a comatose state, while their consciousness visits a dreamland that is very real: injuries or death there replicating in the real world. This journey of the soul ending with the new adult turning Feral and being driven away from his/her home or awakening with unique powers. As Children of the Different opens, Arika has entered her “Changing.” Her brother Narrah is terrified for her and for himself: his changing is yet to come. The story shifting between the otherworldly Changeland and reality itself. The twins having to work together to evade a mythical creature called the Anteater, whose malevolent presence, insidious threats and tantalizing promises mars both realities, twisting and turning them as they desperately attempt to prove themselves worthy of being adults yet are plagued by uncertainty, fear, and doubts. Arika and Narrah holding fast to their bond of familial love; this dedicated relationship to one another helping them brave dangers neither could survive alone. Their path leading them ever deeper into a widening pathway toward maturity, knowledge, and, perhaps, the beginning of a new world. What sets Children of the Difference apart from other post-apocalyptic stories is Mr. Flynn’s imaginative concepts, which mixes fantasy and Aboriginal mythical elements into a classic young adult narrative of self-discovery; the pinnacle of which is the Changing. This very ethereal, mysterious, dream-like reality allowing Mr. Flynn to show the past, the present, defy the laws of nature, and keep readers on the edge of their seats when they realize anything and everything can happen in this other place. Sure, post-apocalyptic aficionados might be adjusted to seeing dystopian worlds filled with man-eating zombies (Ferals), or Mad Max-like humans, but the unpredictable and nightmarish dangers of this unknown dimension are new, exciting, and create instant tension. All stories succeed or fail along with their lead characters however. At least, that is my opinion. I mean, cool dystopian societies, stellar action, interesting magic, and nail biting tension can only take a tale so far. Thankfully, Narrah and Arika are capable of carrying the weight of this novel upon their young shoulders. The twins strong, loving bond and their very realistic determination to overcome obstacles while still being terrified at the same time makes them so true to life that it is easy to empathize with them and want to follow along behind them to see whether they succeed or fail in their journeys. And they somehow do all this without any love triangle? Who knew that was even possible in YA anymore? The only criticism (silly as it may sound) is the young adult nature of some of the narrative. What I am specifically referring to is how certain key narrative concepts are explained over and over again. Not that this is an unusual occurrence plaguing only Children of the Different. Actually, I’ve noticed it in many Ya works that I have read in recent years. Maybe, this need to reiterate key information is a necessary and accepted part of writing for this genre. If that is so, I suppose, my dislike of this tendency is merely a personal dislike on my part, which no one else should concern themselves with. Overall, S.C. Flynn’s debut novel is an imaginative success, fully realized in every way, easy to digest, and utterly enjoyable to read. Strange yet beautiful, it transports readers to a post-apocalyptic world where familial love still thrives even in harsh, brutal circumstances. And I, for one, will be eagerly awaiting this author’s future work. I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank him for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2016/10/15/... Children of the Different is the fantasy debut from author S.C. Flynn that has been making some waves around the blogosphere, and I was delighted when I discovered that it was also available in audiobook format. The reality of the busy fall season means these days I find myself with less time to curl up with book; it’s much more likely that I’m bustling around listening to one in my ear, rather than actually sitting down 3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2016/10/15/... Children of the Different is the fantasy debut from author S.C. Flynn that has been making some waves around the blogosphere, and I was delighted when I discovered that it was also available in audiobook format. The reality of the busy fall season means these days I find myself with less time to curl up with book; it’s much more likely that I’m bustling around listening to one in my ear, rather than actually sitting down turning the pages. Needless to say I immediately leapt upon the opportunity to review this one, especially since I’ve been curious about it for a while. The first thing that struck me was the uniqueness of the setting. Post-apocalyptic novels are a big trend these days—especially in the Young Adult genre—but Children of the Different manages to avoid clichés and stand out with its offbeat approach. First, I really like that the book takes place in south-western Australia, in a forest where our protagonists live. Arika and her twin brother Narrah were born after “The Great Madness”, a catastrophic event that happened nineteen years ago, unleashing a brain disease that decimated the earth’s population. Curiously though, many of the survivors were those who had brain diseases or mental conditions from the world before, and came out of the Great Madness miraculously cured. Others, unfortunately, were transformed into cannibalistic zombie-like monsters called “Ferals”. And now, children born into this new reality are at risk. At the start of their adolescence, all of them must experience a trance called the “The Changing”, a process which sends their consciousness into a dreamscape. At the end of that journey, they either emerge endowed with a special mental power…or they become Feral. After the intro of this book, both Arika and Narrah have come out of their Changings, thankfully with their minds intact, but the things they saw in the Changeland have shaken them, terrified them. A malicious force known as the Echidna, or the anteater, has fixated its attention on the twins. In order to survive, the siblings will have to rely on their newfound powers, and their love for each other, to face and defeat this nebulous new threat. I’ll admit, because so much of the beginning dealt with the Changing and what our characters experienced in the Changeland, it took me a while to find my bearings and get a feel for this story. I don’t always do well with metaphysical themes in fantasy, and many of the scenes described during the dreamscape sections came dangerously close to being too weird for me to handle. My initial confusion ebbed, however, once we got past the introduction and into the meat of the story. I liked how the author linked the concept of the Great Madness and the Changing to the post-apocalyptic world, creating a premise which feels at once familiar and but also very fresh. It’s a nice blend of many genres, with themes from both sci-fi and fantasy mingling happily together, and hey, why not throw in some elements from the zombie horror genre as well, or even some survival suspense-thriller? And no doubt about it, a huge part of the book’s appeal also comes from its atmosphere. I have not been back to Australia in many years, but I still have fond memories of my visit to its cities and wilderness. While the version of Australia in Children of the Different may be a crumbling, lawless place and civilization is virtually nonexistent after the devastation of The Great Madness, S.C. Flynn still retains some of the setting’s charm in the diversity of the landscape, wildlife, and culture of the survivors. It’s worth noting as well that, even though the book’s description makes no statement whether this is an adult or YA novel, I think it would work well for both audiences. It’s true that this book stars teenage protagonists and has strong coming-of-age vibes, but for readers who are open to those themes, I think this story would have good crossover appeal. Finally, because I reviewed the audiobook, I just want to end with some comments about the narration. I’m really glad I got to experience the novel in this format, because I the narrator Stephen Briggs was absolutely fantastic. He does amazing accents for the characters, giving readers that extra layer of immersion with his performance. The production team could not have chosen a better reader for this novel, and if you are curious about checking out Children of the Different, I would highly recommend the audio edition.

  4. 5 out of 5

    S.C. Flynn

    UPDATE: the free promotion is over. CHILDREN OF THE DIFFERENT reached #12 today in the Kindle free list and #1 in YA, YA SFF, YA SF and YA Dystopian. https://www.amazon.com/Children-Diffe... UPDATE: the free promotion is over. CHILDREN OF THE DIFFERENT reached #12 today in the Kindle free list and #1 in YA, YA SFF, YA SF and YA Dystopian. https://www.amazon.com/Children-Diffe...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    ★★★✬☆ 3.5 stars I have been reading this book for quite a while. The reason it took me so long though, was because I was listening to it on a reading app, rather than just reading. I have received this one on a giveaway. Having finished it, I was struggling with the rating question for a bit. 3? Or 4? On one hand, the ideas were good, there were even times when it was Stephen-King-strong, but somehow the story lost the grip. It's to be expected - Stephen King also didn't chug out genius pi ★★★✬☆ 3.5 stars I have been reading this book for quite a while. The reason it took me so long though, was because I was listening to it on a reading app, rather than just reading. I have received this one on a giveaway. Having finished it, I was struggling with the rating question for a bit. 3? Or 4? On one hand, the ideas were good, there were even times when it was Stephen-King-strong, but somehow the story lost the grip. It's to be expected - Stephen King also didn't chug out genius pieces on his first published try, I bet. The writing is also a little technical, and there are some lapses in the tale, but it's all details. The big picture was good. And there's another thing - I listened to this on a reading app. I did enjoy listening to it, but books you listen to through a reading app (not an actual human reading it either), usually get unearned demerits. You have to consider that. So I've decided on 3.5. Anyway, the book itself. I think we should do a list review this time, what do you think? You can read the review on my blog along with all others as well. So! The Good VS The Bad: ★ The world! The Changeland! The idea is absolutely awesome, you've got this psychic collective world which every teen goes to "to change" or.. to perish. It's this vast dreamscape, and I daresay - the best part of the book. The bravest, most daring, most imaginative part of the book. ☆ Ultimately, it lacks some worldbuilding. It takes too long to find out when in time this really is (how long after the disaster - although now I see that in the blurb, maybe I just missed it..?). Most of the people don't remember anything about technology, but still call it 'phones' and 'computers'. Wouldn't you call it 'strange square objects'? For half the book we're immersed in an almost stone age world - in the end, suddenly the computers are working. Bit of a jump. In some places it does feel like it's only 19 years later, in some it feels like a hundred. I had trouble placing the time frame. ★ Then there's the Anteater. In the tradition of Stephen King's It and other big, looming, omnipotent monsters that lurk under your bed and in the shadow under the door. The Anteater was simply wonderful. ☆ ...before we found out what he was. Boy, was it a let down. This could have been so much bigger. Not going to spoil though. ★ The detail in this book is great. The situations are great. They are imaginative, they are intricate and truly eerie - just the way you'd like it. Walking on dead people's stone faces in the collective dreaming land. Running from the dark evil being. Speaking to ancient unknowable beings. ☆ But ultimately, the wonderful details don't deliver. They fail to be tied into the big whole. It lacks something you can't place. ★ The kids have some honest-to-god-awesome powers. Some of their powers were truly very lovely, and I was slightly jealous. The powers are also written well and fit quite logically in the story. ☆ The book could have done without the short mention of romance. I know the kids grew up together. But there was no real need for that. It felt like instalove. And they felt... too young somehow. I cringed. ☆ I couldn't really place if this book was YA or not. It's *sort of* about teens. But it really doesn't have the YA vibe at all. That's not a bad thing - I'm just wondering what it was meant to be. Maybe it shouldn't be marketed as YA. Feels more like regular adult fantasy to me. So I might have pointed out more 'meh' facts than 'yay' facts, but that's just me being picky. This is a good book, and if you like fantasy, you'll probably like it. I just think it could have been better if it was serialized. There was one point in the book where I really wanted the book to end and to go to the sequel. After that it just peters out. It would have been so much better had it been two or three parts, with slightly more of the story continuing after the actual book ends. A promising first book for S.C.Flynn for sure. I would read the sequel if there was one! And good job on having a moving GIF cover, that's great! I have received this book in a giveaway. Opinions are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nick Borrelli

    So many Young Adult fantasy novels talk down to their audience. It is part of the reason why I don’t read much of it frankly. While I understand that I am not the target readership for these books, at the same time it is pretty easy to see when a writer feels the need to soft-pedal the content of the story because they believe that teenagers can’t handle a bit of edginess here and there. Saying all of that, I was hearing a considerable amount of chatter surrounding S.C. Flynn’s Children of the D So many Young Adult fantasy novels talk down to their audience. It is part of the reason why I don’t read much of it frankly. While I understand that I am not the target readership for these books, at the same time it is pretty easy to see when a writer feels the need to soft-pedal the content of the story because they believe that teenagers can’t handle a bit of edginess here and there. Saying all of that, I was hearing a considerable amount of chatter surrounding S.C. Flynn’s Children of the Different. I kept reading complimentary things about the book from people whose opinions I value and respect immensely. So when I was given an advance reading copy, I was extremely eager to check it out. Knowing that it was also a post-apocalyptic story taking place on the continent of Australia didn’t hurt matters either since one of my favorite post-apocalyptic series ever, Greatwinter by Sean McMullen, includes both of those elements as well. I was very intrigued and began devouring chapters not too long after getting a copy of the book in my hands. Children of the Different opens in the wilds of Southwestern Australia and takes place nineteen years after a brain disease called The Great Madness has decimated the population of the world. The mystery of the disease and what caused it is not fleshed out at the outset of the story. I actually thought this was an effective approach by the author as it made me continually turn the pages hoping it would be revealed at some point. As a result of The Great Madness, the survivors have become scattered into settlements just outside the great city of Perth. Newly born children of these survivors upon reaching adolescence, now go through a trance-like state known as Changeland where they will emerge either with special mental powers or as crazed murdering ferals who are no better than the predatory animals that wander the surrounding countryside. There is no way to tell exactly when the Changeland transition will happen and also no way of knowing how each child will come through the ordeal. For that reason, all those who exit Changeland and gradually awaken from their comatose condition must be monitored closely for any sign of potential feral behavior. When thirteen year-old Arika enters Changeland and doesn’t return right away, her twin brother Narrah becomes concerned and somehow finds a way to follow her. Narrah soon discovers Arika as she is being pursued by an evil monster called the Anteater. They are both eventually able to escape and Arika awakens in her bed at home in the settlement not knowing how she has been affected. Will she soon become a cannibalistic beast or will she be granted the power to do great things with her mind? Arika finds out from her mother that Narrah has gone on an excursion to the city with their father to destroy one of the towers that the city people use to communicate across long distances. When he doesn’t return from the excursion, she is told that he was taken prisoner and brought to the city. She knows that she must try to find him at all costs but is still coming to terms with what happened to her in Changeland. It is at the point where she tries to escape her confinement in the settlement and go find Narrah that she begins to realize that her journey through Changeland has left her with the ability to shapeshift. Can she somehow use her newly acquired powers in some way to help save her brother? Or is he like so many taken by the city people, dead to the people of the settlement? There’s also still the possibility that she may become a feral and be cast out by her family. All of these uncertainties surround Arika as she undertakes a most dangerous rescue mission – to the Northwest coast of Australia and an abandoned military base where ferals stalk the shadows looking for innocent blood. What a fun ride this book was. There were so many elements that I enjoyed that it is difficult to list them all. The one thing that I most admired is the fact that S.C. Flynn did not take his foot off the pedal the entire time. For large parts of the story I forgot that I was reading a YA book. He definitely does not sugarcoat the story to suit younger readers. Another aspect that I enjoyed was the uncertainty surrounding the people who lived in the city and how they were changed, if at all, by The Great Madness. These were truly villains who had a lot of depth to them and also a great sense of mystery. S.C. does a wonderful job of not revealing too much, yet giving you just enough to make you want to turn the pages rapidly. Children of the Different is not a long book either, and I found it a quick read that still left me wanting more at the end. I really hope that he is not done with this world and story because I would like to see a whole lot more. All in all I truly enjoyed Children of the Different and would recommend it to those who appreciate an author the likes of a Garth Nix, as it has some of the feel that Garth injects into his stories. I would also recommend it to anyone who enjoys post-apocalyptic fiction with a dash of science fiction. There are significant amounts of both that give the story a wider appeal than it otherwise would have. Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Freakout

    3.5 stars Very good debut, too much YA oriented for my liking, but i enjoyed it Many thanks to author for providing ARC copy!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    * I was gifted a free credit from the author so I could listen to the audiobook version of this book and provide my review * This is a book I really enjoyed and which I think had some really original and exciting ideas within. I definitely think this will be a story that lots of people enjoy and especially the narration of the audiobook brought this to life for me becuase it was narrated in an Aussie accent (I assume the narrator is Australian) which is great considering it's supposed to be set i * I was gifted a free credit from the author so I could listen to the audiobook version of this book and provide my review * This is a book I really enjoyed and which I think had some really original and exciting ideas within. I definitely think this will be a story that lots of people enjoy and especially the narration of the audiobook brought this to life for me becuase it was narrated in an Aussie accent (I assume the narrator is Australian) which is great considering it's supposed to be set in Australia. This is a fantasy story which I would class as a YA one, but the setting of Australia (kind of dystopian Australia) and the very cool powers make this stand out from the rest of the YA out there. In this book we follow two main characters, Arika and Narrah. They are twins, a sister and a brother, and they were born after the Great Madness swept through the land, cursing all the children so they have to go through something called the 'changing' when they become adults. The twins already have a psychic link before they change but as they each go through their own individual crazy changings, they emerge with new found powers and less of a connection. As they strive to meet back up and find one another and protect one another in a very harsh world they meet a nasty enemy called the Anteater, and they also have to deal with being kidnapped and drugged and dragged into things much bigger than just the two of them. What I really enjoyed about this was that it's a super quick and easy read, but the characters still felt developed and really enjoyable. I loved getting the chance to see them before they changed, but also being able to see their reactions to their changes and how they handled it was really fun. The magic of this book I've already said is unique and exciting and they definitely have powers I think would be pretty awesome to have. I always enjoy reading books where I kind of wish I had the magic myself, and this was certainly one of those occasions. Overall I think this is a story loads of people will enjoy and it had some cool twists and ideas which were original. I would definitely recommend it and I ended up giving it a 3.5*s overall :D

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    I received an ARC from the author in exchange for a fair review Children Of The Different is a SF Dystopian novel with YA elements. This would normally not be a good thing as every previous book I’ve read under that category failed catastrophically and ended up rated very poorly. That does NOT apply to Children Of The Different however. Simply put; this was quite an impressive debut. First of all, the main two characters Arika & Narrah. Traditionally twins, especially identical ones, are always co I received an ARC from the author in exchange for a fair review Children Of The Different is a SF Dystopian novel with YA elements. This would normally not be a good thing as every previous book I’ve read under that category failed catastrophically and ended up rated very poorly. That does NOT apply to Children Of The Different however. Simply put; this was quite an impressive debut. First of all, the main two characters Arika & Narrah. Traditionally twins, especially identical ones, are always considered to have a much closer and stronger bond than normal siblings. This is indeed used for these characters but is expanded upon and used in several interesting novel ways. They both have their own personalities which are well developed and do not conveniently fit into the needs of the Dystopian world they live in; which is one of the (many) flaws I’ve always found with YA Dystopian. The setting for the book is definitely my favourite element. The Australian setting is often taken to a semi extreme level in most forms of media. Dangerous creatures, the high temperatures and lack of water is focused upon to the extent the actual landscape; flora and fauna, is fairly insignificant. It isn’t like that in this book. I always consider Australia to have a harsh but beautiful environment and that is brought to the fore; within the confines of the story and plot of course. The plot of the book is a good one. It has a familiar feel to it but manages to not follow the usual stereotypes and manages to follow it’s own path, which is impressive. The trance or dream state of the twins is really well thought out and works nicely both within the plot and the environment. In Summary: An impressive debut with an excellent setting, good characters and a solid plot. Also managing to be the first, and to date only, YA SF Dystopian novel that I’ve liked (The Maze Runner, Divergent and The Fifth Wave all had laughable worlds and emotionless characters) should make this stand out somewhat.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I recieved an ARC for a fair review from the author . More of a review to follow by blog but initial thoughts here for now. First thing that strikes me is the concept is quite imaginative, there is plenty of post apocalyptic stuff out there but the author has tried to do it a little differently , with an edge of fantasy and a bit of borrowing from Aboriginal dreamscape mythology.I like how the author uses the Australian landscape in the story, and some very good nods to nature . Some standards wit I recieved an ARC for a fair review from the author . More of a review to follow by blog but initial thoughts here for now. First thing that strikes me is the concept is quite imaginative, there is plenty of post apocalyptic stuff out there but the author has tried to do it a little differently , with an edge of fantasy and a bit of borrowing from Aboriginal dreamscape mythology.I like how the author uses the Australian landscape in the story, and some very good nods to nature . Some standards with barren wilderness , zombie like people and mutated genetically modified disease. Definitely reads like a YA book but on the older end of that scale with a dark nasty nightmarish side . Thankfully the book doesnt go too much into the romance side that plagues YA books, some small passages of hints and first kisses but little enough that it works. Pacing generally quite good for a first novel , some sentences I might have restructured and some phrase repeated but nothing too bad . The main characters generally work , they drive the story well and develop with the book.Decent twists and a nicely drawn villain make it a decent enjoyable read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).

    As always my fellow Goodreaders this review along with a plethora of other cool stuff canbe found on my blog: TheTattooedBookGeek.wordpress.com 3.5 stars. I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review. Children of the Different is a Y-A post-apocalyptic book set in Australia. Twenty years previous a brain disease called the 'Great Madness' caused most of the world's population to die. The few that remained either attempt to get by as best they can or ha As always my fellow Goodreaders this review along with a plethora of other cool stuff canbe found on my blog: TheTattooedBookGeek.wordpress.com 3.5 stars. I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review. Children of the Different is a Y-A post-apocalyptic book set in Australia. Twenty years previous a brain disease called the 'Great Madness' caused most of the world's population to die. The few that remained either attempt to get by as best they can or have been turned into maddened ferals. When the children born to parents who survived the Great Madness reach puberty, they go into a trance like state/coma and enter the Changeland going through their own changing, either emerging with special powers or as a feral. In short the book itself focuses on the twin lead characters of Narrah and Arika (a boy and a girl) who at the start of the story are getting near to their changing. They end up becoming involved in the conflict between the groups that survived the Great Madness setting the scene for the story and are thusly taken on a journey throughout the book. As their paths diverge from each other, leading to the twins becoming separated, you follow their individual story arcs before they find each other again in the books final third for the conclusion. The characterisation in Children of the Different is really good and I liked both the two main characters, the telepathic twins, brother and sister: Narrah and Arika. Flynn does a great job of showing you how much they care about each other and the close bond shared between them. The villain of the book, The Anteater/Echidna is also really well depicted and has a menacing and ominous presence throughout the book. My favourite character has to be Toura though, a once close friend of the twins, but having gone through her changing previously, coming out with powers of prophecy and hardly speaking, that relationship had diminished due to her subsequent strangeness. However, along the twins journey we see the rebuilding of the relationship. There's also Wirrin, another former close friend of the twins, taken years before by the 'city people' we also see the rebuilding of his friendship with the twins during the book. And, it's a welcome addition, the theme of friendship and that it can endure time and changes. There's three distinct groups in the book. Those of the settlement where Narrah and Arika live who believe that technology was the cause of the Great Madness. Believing it is bad and should all be destroyed. Then we have the city people who feel that technology still has a place in the world and are trying to keep some of it going to maintain a way of life. And, finally a religious group, the hermits. All three groups are well realised, showing their different beliefs and differing ways of thinking. With the amount of technology in use today, it's an issue that makes you think, would you side with the settlement or the city people? For me Children of the Different, whilst there's a lot going on in the book is ultimately the story of Narrah and Arika and their own personal journey leading them through their changing and into maturity. There's some good ideas found in the book with the changing and the Changeland itself being the best. The vision quests that the twins go through whilst in the actual Changeland are really intriguing with a sense of dread filling the consequences about what would happen if they don't find their way out in time. The three parts together (changing, vision quest and Changeland) are a rather ingenious idea that comes across really well in the book. The setting is great to and deserves a mention, as Flynn has diverted from using the far more standard US setting and instead sets the book in Australia. It's wildlife and the references to Aboriginal culture within the book making for a refreshing change. The writing style is descriptive and easy to read. Though at times I felt it was slightly to simplistic and at times repetitive for my liking. But that's down to the genre of the book being Young-Adult and I feel that it would be ideal for fans of that genre and younger readers to. Especially those who haven't yet become acclimatised to the heavy and complex prose of Adult books. With no swearing and only occasional violence, Children of the Different is a great book to get younger readers interested in a genre that doesn't predominantly cater to them. Credit to Flynn for crafting a well thought out, intriguing and unique take on the genre that will appeal to the Y-A audience. The cover art of the book also deserves a mention. It's bright and vibrant and really stands out amongst the far more standard muted and darker tones of book covers for the genre, demanding to be looked at with its vividness. The usage of a variety of animals is also a good and intriguing idea. It's not readily apparent what role the creatures will play in the book and how they will be incorporated into the story. You have to read the book to find out, but when you do, you realise the design fits perfectly and it gives you those 'ah, I get it now' moments while reading. I'd have liked to have rated the book higher but ultimately Young-Adult isn't really a genre for me. Sorry Y-A fans but generally I like some swearing, violence and gore in my fantasy and post-apocalyptic books. But......it was nice to forgo those elements for once and read something lighter in tone and slightly different while still being part of one of my favourite genres. For fans of Y-A and younger readers there's a lot to like in Children of the Different and I'd definitely recommend it to you. Likewise, adults and post-apocalyptic fans will also find enjoyment in the book to. Recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mieneke

    When I was approached about reviewing Children of the Different it wasn’t hard to say yes. Apart from the fact that the author is fellow blogger S.C. Flynn, this post-apocalyptic novel sounded as if it would be interesting and exciting, especially since it is set in Australia, the land that as the joke goes is trying to kill you at every opportunity anyway, never mind there having been an apocalypse. What I found was indeed an interesting story, focused on the close bond between its protagonists When I was approached about reviewing Children of the Different it wasn’t hard to say yes. Apart from the fact that the author is fellow blogger S.C. Flynn, this post-apocalyptic novel sounded as if it would be interesting and exciting, especially since it is set in Australia, the land that as the joke goes is trying to kill you at every opportunity anyway, never mind there having been an apocalypse. What I found was indeed an interesting story, focused on the close bond between its protagonists, but one that left me feeling unqualified to judge certain of its aspects. I mainly felt under-qualified to judge some of the underlying world-building. The book is explicitly set in Western Australia and has clear Aboriginal influences. This is openly acknowledged in the twins’ names, which we are told come from an Aboriginal language, but beyond the fact that Arika has black hair nothing suggests they are of indigenous descent. Their settlement leader Dural is said to be of Aboriginal descent, but there aren’t any other clear ways that it is acknowledged, at least not to someone like me who isn’t that familiar with Australian Aboriginal culture. Yet the Changeland feels as if it might be influenced by Australian Aboriginal mythology, but I am not familiar enough with their culture to judge whether or how much of it was inspired by it. What I really liked was the inversion of the trope that only the fittest survive the apocalypse, by having the people who survived the Great Madness being the ones who had a “different” brain, be it through mental health afflictions, traumatic brain injuries, or other brain-related issues. It also leads to unexpected complications, since many of those who have survived have not learned advanced skills. Such as the Scientist’s chief assistant Mark, who due to paralysation after a car accident didn’t get the chance to study when he was younger. The Great Madness has basically torn a gigantic hole in society’s knowledge and memory. The Great Madness has also brought on the Changing, where adolescents entering puberty go into a trance-like state and are taken into the Changeland. This is a plane where only the mind can travel, though wounds sustained in the Changeland are visible upon the body in the real world. If a youth survives, they either return with a supernatural changer gift or as a Feral, a zombie-like creature out to ravage and kill. As such the time around the Changing is fraught, both for the Changer themselves and for the community. I liked the different abilities the Changed teens in the book showed, they were not your usual super gifts, especially Narrah’s. I also liked that there was more to the Changing than just visible at first glance and the long-term consequences were a cool plot point. My biggest problem with Children of the Different was the abrupt ending. It felt too abrupt—it rather took me by surprise. It wasn't clear whether this was a deliberate choice as to leave the book open to a sequel or because the story was just done. The story/plot maybe have been resolved, but this ending felt like a door slammed shut in the middle of a sentence or the music suddenly cutting out in the middle of your favourite song. It left me feeling disoriented and confused and let the characters down somewhat. Overall though, I enjoyed Children of the Different. S.C. Flynn’s writing style makes for a pleasant read and I really liked Narrah and Arika. If you enjoy post-apocalyptic adventures then Children of the Different should definitely hit your radar. This book was provided for review by the author.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This post-apocalyptic tale is set in Western Australia. 19 years ago, the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. Now when children enter their adolescence, they go into a trance-like state, entering the Changeland, and may come out of it fairly normal or a bit deranged and prone to cannibalism. Arika and her twin brother Narrah are at that age and their adventures in the Changeland will alter them, and perhaps their small society, forever. This tale was just a bit different from any This post-apocalyptic tale is set in Western Australia. 19 years ago, the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. Now when children enter their adolescence, they go into a trance-like state, entering the Changeland, and may come out of it fairly normal or a bit deranged and prone to cannibalism. Arika and her twin brother Narrah are at that age and their adventures in the Changeland will alter them, and perhaps their small society, forever. This tale was just a bit different from anything else I have read recently. First, I loved the setting and all the Australian animals that come into play throughout the tale. There’s even stromatolites! From dense forest to dry desert to cityscape to ocean-side village – this story covers a lot of ground. Then we have the Changeland, a place that can only be entered by your spirit through a trance-like state. Everything is warped in the Changeland. Sometimes a person sees images of cities healthy and whole before the Great Madness and sometimes a persons sees things as a they are now, but far, far from where they live. For both Arika and Narrah, they each run into the Anteater, which is like our Coyote trickster of the desert southwest here in the states. His motives aren’t clear until the end of the story, but he uses both charm and threats to set things in motion. While Arika in undergoing her Change, her brother is out of the village when he comes across Weiran, who used to be part of the village before he went a bit feral after his own Change. Narrah ends up captured by a group of city people and hauled away. Once Arika comes back to reality, she insists on going after him but she has to sneak away to do so. Turah, another childhood friend who now has strange prophetic abilities, goes with her. Both Arika and Narrah will have some harrowing experiences before they are reunited. Once they do, there is the task of taking one of the few remaining military bases in the area! The plot kept me guessing the entire time. There’s a little Mad Max action too when folks take some of the few remaining functional vehicles on the last jog of the story. This was an exciting story. At times, it was beautiful and strange, and at other times I was biting my nails in anticipation of what would happen to our heroes. The Changeland is an eerie, unpredictable place and adds an unexpected dimension to this post-apocalyptic tale. S. C. Flynn is an author to keep an eye on and see what he comes up with next. I received a copy of this book at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review. The Narration: Stephen Briggs was a great choice for this tale. I loved his Australian accent he did for all the characters (except for the 1 or 2 minor characters who weren’t Australian). He also had this great gritty voice for this character Bowman who doesn’t show up until the second half of the story. Sometimes the volume did wiggle up and down a bit, but not so much I had to turn the volume down or risk ear damage. Over all, a great performance.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Grace Troxel

    This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures: http://bookswithoutanypictures.com/20... Children of the Different is a young adult post-apocalyptic novel set in a future Australia. A disease has wiped out most of humanity, and the only people who survived were those who had something different about them mentally–i.e. psychic powers, brain damage, coma, etc. The protagonists are a set of twins who were born after the cataclysm. Arika and Narrah live in a small enclave of s This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures: http://bookswithoutanypictures.com/20... Children of the Different is a young adult post-apocalyptic novel set in a future Australia. A disease has wiped out most of humanity, and the only people who survived were those who had something different about them mentally–i.e. psychic powers, brain damage, coma, etc. The protagonists are a set of twins who were born after the cataclysm. Arika and Narrah live in a small enclave of survivors. Because of the virus, children who hit puberty go into a trance-like state referred to as the Changeland, and come back from it with some kind of new power or ability. That is, if they don’t come back a zombie. Arika and Narrah have always had a psychic connection to each other. When Arika enters the Changeland, the connection is weakened, and both characters find themselves alone for the first time in their lives. And at the same time, they are thrust into situations where they need to rely on and trust each other in order to survive, all while feeling alienated from themselves as their minds and bodies change. The Changeland is so insightful into the feelings one has during puberty. We many not have psychic powers, but we all change as we grow up, and often without feeling ready for it. One of my favorite elements of Children of the Different was looking at how different groups of survivors responded to the apocalypse. Arika and Narrah are part of an enclave that saw technology as the cause of disaster, and so there was a back-to-the-land ethos that permeated every aspect of daily life. In his adventures, Narrah encounters a scientist who has brought together survivors in the hope of using technology to make the world better. And Arika uncovers an ocean-worshiping cult who believe that the secret to survival will come from the oldest forms of life. I loved this book. Children of the Different is trippy and surreal, and is a thought-provoking adventure.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Vikki Patis

    Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy. Meet Arika and Narrah, twins, and our protagonists. They've grown up after The Great Madness wiped out almost all of humanity, and Arika has already started Changing. Narrah is scared, for his sister as well as himself, and his coming Changing, which occurs in all survivors at the onset of puberty. This is YA, but it gives us a nice break from the usual Strong Female Character, But Must Have Male Love Interest, And Probably A Love Triangle, e Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy. Meet Arika and Narrah, twins, and our protagonists. They've grown up after The Great Madness wiped out almost all of humanity, and Arika has already started Changing. Narrah is scared, for his sister as well as himself, and his coming Changing, which occurs in all survivors at the onset of puberty. This is YA, but it gives us a nice break from the usual Strong Female Character, But Must Have Male Love Interest, And Probably A Love Triangle, excuse my language, bullshit. Arika and Narrah are siblings, with a much closer, more realistic relationship. The characters are rich and vibrant, and their bond, alongside their realistic reactions, is what makes it so easy to empathise with them. The narrative does feel somewhat young, even for young adult - perhaps this might even be suitable for younger readers. But Flynn doesn't talk down to the reader; in fact, the narrative felt empowering, encouraging. It reminded me a bit of Peadar O'Guilin's Bone World Trilogy. Children Of The Different is a typically dystopian, post-apocalyptic yarn, but it offers so much more, with the threads of fantasy and Aboriginal myths weaved through. With beautiful description, enjoyable characters and a fast-paced plot, Children Of The Different is a debut that is not to be missed. See this review and many more on The Bandwagon, www.dracarya.wordpress.com

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Atwell

    There is a wonderful sense of place in ‘Children of the Different,’ which combines both future and past within its imaginatively-constructed framework. Although the work can easily be read as a well-paced YA dystopian work, there are many, many enjoyable small details that are skilfully woven into the storytelling, adding additional interest and depth to the author's descriptions and historical knowledge of the novel's setting. The dialogue is a little clunky here and there but, overall, ‘Childr There is a wonderful sense of place in ‘Children of the Different,’ which combines both future and past within its imaginatively-constructed framework. Although the work can easily be read as a well-paced YA dystopian work, there are many, many enjoyable small details that are skilfully woven into the storytelling, adding additional interest and depth to the author's descriptions and historical knowledge of the novel's setting. The dialogue is a little clunky here and there but, overall, ‘Children of the Different’ is truly quite unique in the way that it explores both its environment and history in order to both entertain and question scientific possibilities and limitations. I would really like to see this work reach the wide audience that it deserves and I'm especially looking forward to reading a sequel and to much more writing from S.C.Flynn. Highly recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maddalena

    I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review: unlike other submissions I accepted in the past, this one took a different path. The author is also a fellow blogger, and he built some anticipation for his book by sharing first an excerpt and then the cover art, an interesting – if puzzling, at the time – image that further piqued my curiosity. Children of the Different is a post-apocalyptic novel dealing with the aftermath of the Great Madness, a wave of murderous, virus-d I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review: unlike other submissions I accepted in the past, this one took a different path. The author is also a fellow blogger, and he built some anticipation for his book by sharing first an excerpt and then the cover art, an interesting – if puzzling, at the time – image that further piqued my curiosity. Children of the Different is a post-apocalyptic novel dealing with the aftermath of the Great Madness, a wave of murderous, virus-driven insanity that swept the globe some twenty years previously, whose victims fell prey to an unstoppable killing instinct. Apart from a number of people who proved to be immune – as it often happens with any kind of plague – the only ones to avoid the Madness’ effects were those who had previously exhibited mental problems of various gravity: they not only survived the infection, but their afflictions were cured. Those who did not fall into either category became Ferals: as the name suggests, they are little more than beasts attacking other people, killing them and feasting on their flesh. Now, all children born after the Madness undergo, once they reach puberty, a process called “the Changing”: they enter a comatose state in which they experience the Dreamland, a place of the mind capable of affecting the body as well, so that an injury sustained there shows in all its painful tangibility in the waking world. The Changing can bestow unique powers on those youths, or transform them into Ferals, who are driven away from the communities where they grew up. As the novel opens, young Arika just started her Changing, observed with huge trepidation by her twin brother Narrah, who is alternately worried for his sister and for the ordeal that will shortly claim him as well. The story unfolds following the twins’ experiences – both in the Changeland and in reality – while they slowly discover more about the world they live in, as it once was and as it is now: until their Changing they lived a very sheltered life in an isolated settlement, the only information about the outside provided by the elders of the community, and therefore lacking many important details that they need to complete the puzzle. Arika and Narrah’s path is both a coming-of-age journey and a quest, and a fascinating one at that, since it develops on several planes, due to the intermingling of reality and dream-state, without forgetting the peculiar powers that both of them gain from their Changing: here is where I finally comprehended the full meaning of the cover image, and where I understood my feelings of dread when I observed the figure of the echidna, the Ant-eater that keeps plaguing the young protagonists both in the material world and the dream state. The malevolent countenance and the red eyes of this creature struck me as totally evil on the cover, so that when it appeared in the Changeland, threatening the twins, it appeared even more of a danger than it would have from description alone. As far as dystopian novels go, this one was quite unlike my previous experiences, and it was a very welcome change: for starters, the Australian setting is unusual for the genre, and it adds a further dimension to the post-apocalyptic landscape, imbued as it is with some Aboriginal wisdom and customs, which give it a distinctive flavor in respect of similarly set novels. Then there are the main characters: forget the much-used (and abused) tropes of angsty youngsters, whining about the unfairness of the world or dealing with the equally ubiquitous love triangles – Arika and Narrah feel like real, flesh-and-blood teenagers, eager to take their place in the world and at the same time plagued with doubts and uncertainties, but strong enough to want to face any obstacle before them. Their courage comes from the awareness of the responsibilities they carry toward each other first, and then toward their community and, later on, the wider world; the love and the strong bond they share is the power that drives them forward through hardships and terror, and it’s a delightful and very real emotion to behold. The interweaving of reality and mind-scape is another fascinating side of this story, because it helps focus on the changes that the Great Madness brought to what remains of humankind: if the real world is scary enough, what with the constant threat of Ferals, or other humans preying on the weak, the Changeland is much worse, if nothing else because of its unpredictability and the opportunity for other, stronger minds, to affect it and create nightmarish dangers. Following the twins during their Changings, or the later visits they are compelled to pay to this dream-state, can be a disturbing experience, one that personally made me hold my breath more than once, such was the power of the images I found there. This is a novel primarily directed at a young audience, and as such it suffers a bit from the need of detailed exposition and the reiteration of a few basic concepts – both instances probably aimed at strengthening the understanding and attention span of its intended target, though slightly jarring for a more… mature reader. That notwithstanding, the story is a fascinating one, and the characters very easy to relate to and care about, so that I feel perfectly comfortable in recommending this novel to everyone who wants to hear a new voice in the speculative fiction panorama. Originally posted at SPACE and SORCERY BLOG

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sheryl

    I found this book very easy to read and very enjoyable. I love the ideas and characters and the fact it's set in areas I am familiar with (I live in Perth). I did however feel that it was a bit short on descriptions of the settings. It didn't give me a real feel for the settings the book takes place in. It is not the best written book I have ever read, but it is imaginative and enjoyable and well worth giving a go. I found this book very easy to read and very enjoyable. I love the ideas and characters and the fact it's set in areas I am familiar with (I live in Perth). I did however feel that it was a bit short on descriptions of the settings. It didn't give me a real feel for the settings the book takes place in. It is not the best written book I have ever read, but it is imaginative and enjoyable and well worth giving a go.

  19. 5 out of 5

    DivaDiane

    Actually, more like 3.8 stars. This is a really interesting concept and a very good first novel. First off: I received this audio book in exchange for an honest review. Life got in the way and I am just now (2 years after the fact) holding up my end of the bargain. I’m sorry it took me so long, because I really enjoyed it. I found the setting really refreshing. Not many of the books I’ve read, especially Speculative fiction have been set in Australia. Plus the narrator (Stephen Briggs) is Austra Actually, more like 3.8 stars. This is a really interesting concept and a very good first novel. First off: I received this audio book in exchange for an honest review. Life got in the way and I am just now (2 years after the fact) holding up my end of the bargain. I’m sorry it took me so long, because I really enjoyed it. I found the setting really refreshing. Not many of the books I’ve read, especially Speculative fiction have been set in Australia. Plus the narrator (Stephen Briggs) is Australian, which was perfect, of course. I loved the dreamscape of the Changeland, where anything could happen and things do change weirdly and seemingly at random, although none of it is, in fact, random. Because the 2 main characters are a set Of psychically linked twins, and they are basically on alternate quests to save one another, there’s quite a lot of repetition from both perspectives. The second time through the events could’ve been executed better with more brevity, but the story didn’t suffer. The narrator was quite good, changing his voice subtly to give the characters more identity, but it wasn’t over-done, which I appreciate. Only Zara’s cadence was a bit hard to take after a while. By the end the narration suffered only slightly by a lack of variety in the cadence. All the lines had the same melody, if you will. But I’m not sure it was entirely his fault. I noticed that most of the sentences were very short and with little variation in the sentence structure, it would be difficult to create variety in the cadence of your voice. That said, it didn’t bother me that much, I just noticed it. Over all, I feel this was a very strong debut novel with an interesting and refreshing story. I’m looking forward to what Flynn comes up with next.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Fredrik

    The author asked for my opions on his debut novel and gave me an e-book copy in exchange for a review. I said "sure!", and here's what I wrote. A few decades earlier, civilization was brought down by The Madness, which killed countless people, drove many to feral madness and and left scattered few survivors to resettle and rebuild. When children born after the Madness reach puberty, they go into a trance, from which they emerge either mad and feral or "changed", with new and unusual abilities. Th The author asked for my opions on his debut novel and gave me an e-book copy in exchange for a review. I said "sure!", and here's what I wrote. A few decades earlier, civilization was brought down by The Madness, which killed countless people, drove many to feral madness and and left scattered few survivors to resettle and rebuild. When children born after the Madness reach puberty, they go into a trance, from which they emerge either mad and feral or "changed", with new and unusual abilities. The story follows the twins Narrah and Arika on they go through this transition, while they simultaneously get cought up in the conflict between the settlements that want to put the past behind them and the "city people" who try to restore the old world. The best part of the story is the post-apocalyptic Australian setting, given a strong sense of place through vivid descriptions of wild-life and nature. The characters too are disctinct and personable, and I was fascinated and intrigued by the vision-quests the twins go through in the "Changeland". Stylewise, the writing is clear and straight-forward, but hampered by some stiff and expository dialogue. Probably fine for a younger audience, though I found it a bit on the simple side. I also never quite got along with the title of the book, but I nevertheless applaud "Children of the different" for its novel twist on the (not-quite zombie) apocalypse-scenario and the refreshingly different environment it takes place in.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy Sturgis

    There are plenty of post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories out there for younger readers, but I'm pleased to see that Children of the Different offers an alternative from the "same old same old" for its audience. The novel lives somewhere between the middle-reader and young-adult categories, and it follows the compelling characters of thirteen year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah, inheritors of a world ravaged by the Great Madness, as they experience their coming-of-age via the dreamlike ot There are plenty of post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories out there for younger readers, but I'm pleased to see that Children of the Different offers an alternative from the "same old same old" for its audience. The novel lives somewhere between the middle-reader and young-adult categories, and it follows the compelling characters of thirteen year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah, inheritors of a world ravaged by the Great Madness, as they experience their coming-of-age via the dreamlike otherworld of the Changeland. S.C. Flynn blends science fiction and fantasy, original ideas and indigenous tradition, to create an imaginative journey with high stakes and able protagonists vividly set in Western Australia. What I appreciated most in this story is how it empowers young readers, giving them credit for courage and will and agency, and refusing to talk down to them. The final takeaway is one I definitely can get behind: technology can cause problems and it can also offer solutions. What science does, whether it is "good" or "bad" when applied, ultimately depends on the choices of the individuals who use it. Arika and Narrah wrest hope from apparent hopelessness, and the reader imagines that they will choose to heal their people and their world. I received an ARC from the author in return for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Blodeuedd Finland

    Setting: A post-apocalyptic world. Most of humanity is gone in the great madness. And there are Ferals, let's just call them fast "zombies" and you get the point. They will kill you. Different groups of humans live spread out, but we only get the scope on Australia. For all I know everyone else might be dead. Story: Twins Arrika and Narrah go into the changing. This means they either gets powers, or become Ferals. Life does suck. There are dangers in the Changelands that will follow you out. I can' Setting: A post-apocalyptic world. Most of humanity is gone in the great madness. And there are Ferals, let's just call them fast "zombies" and you get the point. They will kill you. Different groups of humans live spread out, but we only get the scope on Australia. For all I know everyone else might be dead. Story: Twins Arrika and Narrah go into the changing. This means they either gets powers, or become Ferals. Life does suck. There are dangers in the Changelands that will follow you out. I can't say too much about the story, spoilers you know. But there will be a dangerous journey. Revelations. Learning more about what is left of Australia (at least this part of AU). There are some minor characters too, but this really is the twin's book, and their journeys. It was an interesting story that had me hooked. Narration: The narrator did a great job with the book. And here is where I should say more. But you good, good narration. Nice pace, kept me interested. What a good narrator should do. Conclusion: This was a good story, I liked listening to it, and I could easily stop in the middle of a chapter and pick up the next day (since that is how I roll). When it ended I felt like I would like to see more in this world, even if there was a good solid ending,

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julia Rios

    This is a gripping YA post-apocalyptic story about twins who have to save each other and the world. Like Archivist Wasp (one of my top YA Dystopian reads of recent years), this book is heavy on the action and doesn't focus on a love triangle or romantic plot. I thought the post-apocalyptic Australian setting was fascinating, and I loved that the twins were set on helping each other and their community. Also, I got this in ebook form, but also bought the audible narration. Ended up listening to t This is a gripping YA post-apocalyptic story about twins who have to save each other and the world. Like Archivist Wasp (one of my top YA Dystopian reads of recent years), this book is heavy on the action and doesn't focus on a love triangle or romantic plot. I thought the post-apocalyptic Australian setting was fascinating, and I loved that the twins were set on helping each other and their community. Also, I got this in ebook form, but also bought the audible narration. Ended up listening to the audio version all the way through because the narrator is fantastic.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Runalong

    Impressive Debut set in post apocalypse Australia. Great settings, mix of fantasy and science and two very engaging leads. Full review for GPO to follow

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ferg TQFBB

    Children of the Different is the self-published debut novel from author S C Flynn and one I quite enjoyed. There is a very distinct Australian feel to the book, a country I am very familiar with, as I live here. At times you can feel the dry of the land and the heat in the air as the story unfolds. The use of the Australia, as well as its distinct flora and fauna gives the story a very grounded narrative. Generally YA is not a category I read in, but the story carried me along nicely and kept me Children of the Different is the self-published debut novel from author S C Flynn and one I quite enjoyed. There is a very distinct Australian feel to the book, a country I am very familiar with, as I live here. At times you can feel the dry of the land and the heat in the air as the story unfolds. The use of the Australia, as well as its distinct flora and fauna gives the story a very grounded narrative. Generally YA is not a category I read in, but the story carried me along nicely and kept me reading. The narrative is uncomplicated and leads the reader along slowly before a more energetic conclusion. The benefit of this is the plot development of the characters and the world is more organic. The main protagonists, Narrah and Arika, 13 year old twin brother and sister have begun their journey into adulthood, the consequence of this in their post-apocalyptic world is a mystic transformation. Living away from the cities, the surviving adults from the Great Madness try to protect and shelter the children from the old world, with its wars and unintended consequences. The anxiety, confusion and doubt you would expect from new teens and breaking away from the only lives they know comes across in the telling as the pair discover their new found abilities and a danger which threatening their freinds, their world and their lives. The villain, an unknowable and malevolent entity keep Narrah and Arika guessing as they try to stop its plans. I liked that there wasn’t (to me anyway) any clues to the villain’s identity until the concluding chapters, it added to the mystery and dynamic as the each begins their odyssey, emotionally and geographically, overcoming the obstacles in their paths. As a stand alone piece of work the story is well thought out, there are some good twists and turns before you come to a satisfying conclusion. I would recommend. 8/10.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Evan

    Children of the Different is a Young Adult post-apocalyptic story that doesn’t necessarily follow the same recipe as the plethora of other ones out there. I started reading postapoc YA lit about 10 years ago at the suggestion of my wife and soon realized that I loved it. Steady action and interesting concepts that keep you in the story – this is precisely what Children of the Different does. There is a fantasy element within the story that I thought was very cool and I was pleased to read somethi Children of the Different is a Young Adult post-apocalyptic story that doesn’t necessarily follow the same recipe as the plethora of other ones out there. I started reading postapoc YA lit about 10 years ago at the suggestion of my wife and soon realized that I loved it. Steady action and interesting concepts that keep you in the story – this is precisely what Children of the Different does. There is a fantasy element within the story that I thought was very cool and I was pleased to read something different than the standard YA fare that we’ve all come to see when it comes to this genre. I would have liked to know a little more about how the world came to be broken, but I’m a sucker for backstory and I realize that it is often good to leave some things up to the imagination of the reader. I’m just a sucker for backstory. I thought it was a fantastic first book from this author and I’m really looking forward to reading more from him! This is a solid four-star story, darn near five-star territory. The writing and editing are excellent and I found no errors that took me out of the story. Why four stars and not five? The characters would often be "traveling" between the Changeland and the real world. I found myself sometimes getting confused as to where I was. I also felt that we spent a little too much time in the Changeland. Why'd that bother me? Not sure... perhaps I'm just selfish and was more interested in what was going on in the real world rather than the Changeland. Plain and simple - if you are a fan of postapoc fiction, but not necessarily this age group, I strongly suggest you give this one a try. It might just change your mind. It’s a great story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eric Fomley

    After blazing through the novel in just a couple sittings I have to strongly recommend you check it out for yourself. I’m rather picky in the types of speculative fiction I read these days and in all honesty Children of the Different’s premise didn’t strike a chord with my usual choice in a science fiction novel. I tend to steer away from anything that involves world-wide disease/post-apocalyptic in the genre because genre cliches bother me from being able to get through them. However, Children After blazing through the novel in just a couple sittings I have to strongly recommend you check it out for yourself. I’m rather picky in the types of speculative fiction I read these days and in all honesty Children of the Different’s premise didn’t strike a chord with my usual choice in a science fiction novel. I tend to steer away from anything that involves world-wide disease/post-apocalyptic in the genre because genre cliches bother me from being able to get through them. However, Children of the Different was a breath of fresh air. One of the things I liked most about this book was author S. C. Flynn takes his idea and really runs with it. The storytelling is very action based without getting bogged down in long treks of worldbuilding exposition or overwhelming the reader with psycho-analyzing the character’s emotions. Flynn lays the groundwork quickly and effectively spins a solid story that kept ahold of me to the end. The good pacing and storytelling is coupled with very good writing. S. C. Flynn is an independently published author with a clear voice that exemplifies that good fiction can come out of self-publication. His writing is tight, clean, well-edited, and drove the story forward. I was very pleased with the way he told his tale and I look forward to reading and hearing more from S. C. Flynn in the future. Be sure to not to miss Flynn’s Children of the Different.

  28. 4 out of 5

    imyril

    I complained earlier this year that too many apocalypse novels focus on the USA, so it was a delight to read a Western Australian-set post-apocalypse. The setting is vibrant here, the WA bush and desert brought to vivid life - and even emptier here than in reality. It's 20 years since the Madness killed or crazed most of the population. The few survivors cluster in small groups, with strongly divergent views on how humanity should approach the future. Twins Arika and Narrah have grown up in the I complained earlier this year that too many apocalypse novels focus on the USA, so it was a delight to read a Western Australian-set post-apocalypse. The setting is vibrant here, the WA bush and desert brought to vivid life - and even emptier here than in reality. It's 20 years since the Madness killed or crazed most of the population. The few survivors cluster in small groups, with strongly divergent views on how humanity should approach the future. Twins Arika and Narrah have grown up in the technophobic Settlement, but as they approach the terrifying Change that overtakes every child born since the Madness they will have their beliefs about themselves and their way of life challenged. Can they survive the Anteater in the Changeland and use their new-gained powers to help the survivors of WA make a future? This is a post-apocalyptic coming of age adventure with a delightful central relationship and plenty of dark, tense sequences. It's not without flaws, but it's a promising debut. I look forward to hearing more from this author. Full review. I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    This is an excellent book. Set in a post apocalyptic Australia this story of twins will draw you in right from the start and hold onto you until (and beyond) the ending. I was asked by the author to read and review this book prior to its upcoming release and not only was I honored to do so, I was excited to do so once I heard the description of the story. From start to finish this adventure keeps you engaged and turning page after page as you follow along with the heroes. The primary characters This is an excellent book. Set in a post apocalyptic Australia this story of twins will draw you in right from the start and hold onto you until (and beyond) the ending. I was asked by the author to read and review this book prior to its upcoming release and not only was I honored to do so, I was excited to do so once I heard the description of the story. From start to finish this adventure keeps you engaged and turning page after page as you follow along with the heroes. The primary characters and secondary characters have depth and history to them. The story is well laid out, yet just when you think you've figured it all out the author masterfully throws in a good twist to the plot just to keep you guessing and moving along to the resolution at the end of it. As stated I truly enjoyed this story and I hope to see these characters and this world again in another book soon! As for this story it will be available on September 10th and I do strongly recommend Children Of The Different to y'all!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    The nitty-gritty: A unique tale with glimmers of magic and wonder, but with some writing inconsistencies that distracted from the story. The city was a huge place of death with very little life. He could not sense the ghosts of the dead, but they had to be out there. And what about the ghosts of all the machines there used to be in the city? Most of the machines had died in the Madness, just like the people. Narrah could not sense the machine ghosts, either, but they must be all around The nitty-gritty: A unique tale with glimmers of magic and wonder, but with some writing inconsistencies that distracted from the story. The city was a huge place of death with very little life. He could not sense the ghosts of the dead, but they had to be out there. And what about the ghosts of all the machines there used to be in the city? Most of the machines had died in the Madness, just like the people. Narrah could not sense the machine ghosts, either, but they must be all around him. Maybe now he could finally learn what they were. My review policy states that I don’t read self-published books, which is a personal decision based on the fact that a) there are so many traditionally published books out there that I want to read, there just isn’t time, and b) I’ve been burned too many times in the past by horribly written, edited and conceived indie books, that one day I simply said “No more!” I know there are lots of bloggers out there much more adventurous than I who are willing to venture into the self-published pool again and again, and I respect their decision to do so. But in the case of S.C. Flynn and his debut Children of the Different, I decided to give it shot, based on the fact that I “know” him somewhat from his online presence. I have to admit I ended up with mixed feelings about the story, but I can certainly appreciate the work he’s put into the book, from the professionally designed cover to the many years he’s spent working on his craft, to his enthusiastic marketing efforts. It’s difficult to give constructive criticism, especially when an author is taking the more difficult route to publication (in my opinion), but as is the case with many books I read, not only self-published, some things worked and others didn't. Flynn draws from his own experiences living in Western Australia to create a post-apocalyptic world that brims with interesting world-building details. The story revolves around thirteen-year-old twins Arika and Narrah who live in the Settlement, a community that rejects technology and lives simply off the land, keeping each other safe from the Ferals, once-human beasts who are the result of a brain disease called the Great Madness that wiped out most of humanity. The twins have come of age and are about to enter something called the Changeland, a vision quest-like mental state that each child must go through. Once they emerge from the experience, they will either have a new ability—like reading minds—or become a Feral, one of the feared beasts who eat human flesh. The story begins just as Arika has entered the Changeland, a dreamlike place where nothing is quite what it seems. Arika faces many dangerous obstacles in the Changeland, not the least of which is a creature who calls himself the Anteater. When she finally emerges from her experience, Arika discovers that she now has the power to mentally change into any animal, with all the abilities and characteristics of that animal, but without actually physically changing. Because of this she is able to get herself out of several scrapes during the story, so it’s an ability that proves infinitely useful. Meanwhile, Narrah wonders when his turn will come, since he feels as if Arika has left him behind. But he doesn’t have long to wait, and his own experience gives him the ability to “read” almost anything simply by touching it. But a terrible discovery proves that those who have gone through the Changing are in grave danger, and Narrah and some friends from the Settlement decide to set off on a journey to find the key to a cure to save the those teens who are still alive. Meanwhile, Arika is on a journey of her own, but Narrah and Arika are destined to meet up again. All that stands between them are the many dangers of their world, including Ferals and the elusive City People. Flynn is full of great ideas, and I really enjoyed the Australian setting. Because of Arika’s new abilities, we get a glimpse of some of the Australian animal life, which I found endlessly fascinating. For example, at one point in the story Arika must escape a small room with only a narrow window at the top of the wall. The reader wonders how on earth she will accomplish that task, but her Changing ability allows her to “become” a snake and slither through the tiny space. Most of the story takes place out in the open, near the ocean, in the desert and even in forested areas, and I could easily picture Arika’s and Narrah’s journeys as they went from place to place. The whole idea of the Changing—which is an unabashed metaphor for puberty—was very cool, as the children experience uncertainty and fear before realizing that it isn’t actually that bad. One of my favorite chapters takes place in the Changeland, where Arika faces an almost Alice in Wonderland-like challenge, having to rescue Narrah who has been trapped in a maze. I loved the dreamlike quality of the Changeland and Flynn’s prose shines the most when he’s describing its mysteries. Unfortunately, those glimpses of lovely prose were not consistent, and one of the issues I had with the story was the writing. Overall the prose is extremely simplistic and repetitive, and while this style might work for very young readers, I think teens will feel as if they are being talked down to. Based on the main characters’ ages—thirteen—this story works much better as a middle grade book. Despite some truly lovely writing passages, Flynn’s dialog feels overly dramatic and bombastic at times: “Never!” Arika said. “I’ll get away somehow!” and at other times it simply felt wooden and unnatural. Despite the author’s claim to having had a professional editor at the helm, there were some unfortunately awkward sentences that seemed out of place with the rest of the writing ("A crash came at the door that Bowman had entered by.") Flynn also tends to use dialog to convey information, which can work if done correctly. In this case, it simply comes across as info dumping, as one character—usually one of the adults—explains how things work to one of the children. It’s a style I don’t care for, especially when it emphasizes how unsophisticated the younger characters really are. The characters themselves were a mixed bunch for me. I did like Arika and Narrah, who have to carry most of the story, but some of the side characters didn’t quite work. The “bad guy” of the tale, the Anteater, felt more like a caricature of a villain than an actual villain, and despite the fear he seemed to invoke in the children, I just didn’t feel it myself. Likewise, the Ferals could have been terrifying, but the author just didn’t do enough with them to make them really scary. Like some of the other side characters, they felt cartoonish and two-dimensional, and I didn’t have a good sense of what they looked like, which would have helped flesh them out more. I guess if I had to sum up my feelings for Children of the Different, I would have to say that it lacked consistency. There are moments of pure joy and wonder within these pages, but these moments are interspersed with inconsistent pacing and writing. As far as self-published books go, it’s one of the better ones I’ve read, but it certainly isn’t perfect and could use more work, in my opinion. The last chapters of the book are actually quite exciting, as the characters break into an American military base where the cure they are searching for is supposedly stashed, and the satisfying ending left me with a feeling that the story was complete. Despite my issues with Children of the Different, Flynn’s story gives us a unique setting and an irresistible concept. Younger readers in particular will enjoy Arika’s and Narrah’s journey of self-discovery. Big thanks to the author for supplying a review copy. This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy

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